It seems to me that your daughter's father does not care, wish or intend to do anything for her welfare, and only by the mere fact of being her biological father is he doing all in his power to prevent anyone else from doing anything which will ensure her chances of a good life. This is almost diabolical.
I assume that his failure to attend the CDA offices for his interview has caused them to decide that the adoption cannot proceed. This I find difficult to understand, if they are really considering what is in the best interests of your child. He has, from what you say, effectively abandoned his daughter for all the seven years of her life and his refusal surely underlines his clear abandonment. Should not the court decide whether the adoption can in such circumstances be completed? Should the decision in this regard be a mere administrative one or a legal one? Can the CDA not apply to the court for direction in these circumstances? The CDA's inaction really disappoints and concerns me and leads me to wonder how many adoptions have been truncated by them for similar reasons.
Your legal options
I would advise you both to apply, in the Supreme Court and not the Family Court, for custody, care and control of your child.
Your affidavit in support of your application must contain everything, which will give the judge hearing the matter the full facts on which you and your husband rely in proof of your claims. You have to demonstrate the biological father's complete lack of interest in the child from the time he made this clear, whether before or around or after her birth to the date of your affidavit in support of your application.
You must also relate when you met your husband and how he assumed the role of the father to your daughter and continued in this way until the date of the affidavit. You must also relate the facts about his application to adopt her and what happened. You should say that he wishes to continue his role as father and to have the legal right to enable him to do so without fear of any interference from any malcontented person.
This affidavit can be made by you both jointly or you can make separate ones in support of your application. I would also suggest that your mother, who you said was the other person who assisted you and your daughter, also do an affidavit in support of the application, in which she can relate what she knows personally of the biological father's conduct and how she came to assume the role she did in your daughter's life.
You see, this application with the affidavits in support, when served on the biological father, will either flush him out or not. It will be served with an Acknowledgement of Service form in blank that he must complete, sign and file in the registry of the Supreme Court within the required number of days. He would have notes with the application which will explain what he can do and he would be warned that if he fails to do these things, the orders sought in your application may be made because of his failure to acknowledge, contest and appear at the time and date of the hearing.
You see, he will have the choice to acknowledge that the documents were served on him and state in it whether or not he is going to agree to the orders sought or to contest a part or the whole application. If he fails to file this form acknowledging the service of the documents on him and to make any answer to the claim and does not appear, then, as long as the affidavit of service by the process server stating how, when and where the documents were served on him was filed and is available for the judge at the hearing, and he has had sufficient time to act, the orders for which you filed your application would generally be made.
I therefore suggest that you go this route as it will give both you and your husband legal custody, care and control of your daughter. You yourself now have de facto custody, care and control, so please make it legal. Thereafter, you can revisit the issue of her adoption. Good luck.
Margarette May Macaulay is an attorney-at-law, Supreme Court mediator, notary public and women's and children's rights advocate. Send questions via e-mail to allwoman@jamaicaobserver. com; or write to All Woman, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and must not be relied upon as an alternative to legal advice from your own attorney.